"You can never go home again, but the truth is you can never leave home, so it's all right." ~Maya Angelou
I have been thinking about home. About why a certain place might feel like home, even when we have never lived there. Two of those places exist in my life.
Specifically, I am missing Seaside, Oregon. I have tried to travel there each summer with my children. We missed it two years ago, and are missing it this summer because we have so many other projects and expenses.
It is not the place I grew up. As if, for most of us, there was "the place." Most Americans probably grew up in many places.
It is the place where my father's parents have lived since the late 70's-- at least 30 years. My grandfather passed away in 1995, but my grandmother still lives in their cottage-like house with its simple square front yard two short blocks from the ocean. My father lives in Seaside with his wife Lita, and my Uncle Steve, Aunt Susan and their son live there, too, in Gearhart. My grandparents, uncle and father have all been businesspeople there for many years. My dad has a 4-H baking club that entered dog biscuits in the county fair last year. The Methodist church was filled to overflowing for my grandfather's funeral. And some of this is why I feel at home there.
The natural beauty of the place brings me back to Seaside in my most stressful moments, and especially in the middle of June in Tucson when half the state is on fire and any nearby mountain respite has been closed to the public out of fear of one more small spark. Instead, we bake in the desert, and the sunlight becomes one washed-out blaze of heat. We pray for the monsoon and bargain with ourselves about whether to economize on air conditioning or turn the thermostat down a few more degrees... we tell ourselves we deserve it.
I think of these beaches as my healing place, my cool place, a place my mind can rest. My children can play in the elements, and within the welcoming and protective arms of a loving family.
These are cool, wide, smooth beaches. Beaches for walking and digging. Beaches for dogs chasing balls. The sand is so fine Grandma likes us to hose off our feet before coming back indoors. Whatever car we drive gathers sand in the upholstery.